Protest The Hero
Underground Operations Ltd./V2 Records International Ltd./Spinefarm Records/Universal Music Australia
Whitby (Ontario, Canada) based outfit Protest The Hero are the kind of band that you could call the quiet achiever. Despite garnishing huge critical acclaim for their first two full-length albums (2005’s ‘Kezia’ and 2008’s ‘Fortress’), the five piece act (Comprising of vocalist Rody Walker, lead guitarist/backing vocalist Luke Hoskin, rhythm guitarist/keyboardist/backing vocalist Tim Millar, bassist/backing vocalist Arif Mirabdolbaghi and drummer Moe Carlson) still remain a somewhat underground act with an ever growing diehard following. Now returning with their third full-length effort ‘Scurrilous’ (Which is the follow-up to their ‘Gallop Meets The Earth’ live C.D./D.V.D. from 2009), it looks like Protest The Hero may have a chance of making a bigger dent within the progressive metal scene.
On the surface, ‘Scurrilous’ doesn’t represent a huge change of sound for the band when compared to their two previous offerings. But upon closer inspection, the subtle difference between their latest album and their past become more and more apparent, both with its mix of pro’s and con’s. ‘C’est La Vie’ (The album’s first single/promotional video clip) is an ideal introduction for newcomers to the band, with most of the band’s signature sound blended and spliced into a concise three and a half minutes. The much promised addition of progressive elements to the band’s sound this time around are evident in the guitarists technical wizardry, while Walker’s predominately clean vocals and the reliance on more straightforward themes on the lyrical front give the song a sense of accessibility that has at times eluded the band.
The follow-up ‘Hair-Trigger’ is a definite highlight with vocalist Jadea Kelly (Who also appeared on ‘Kezia’) taking on the role of Walker’s ‘sweet little redhead’, while outstanding tracks such as ‘Moonlight’ and ‘Tapestry’ show a greater melodic emphasis in the choruses working alongside a greater complexity of guitar riffs in the remainder of the song’s construction.
Elsewhere, tracks such as the driving ‘The Reign Of Unending Terror’, the dazzling flourishes of guitar work in ‘Tongue-Splitter’ and the off-kilter melodic chaos of ‘Sex Tapes’ (Which features a guest appearance from Propagandhi’s Chris Hannah) are the definitive picks from the remainder of the album.
Some fans will no doubt dismiss the band’s latest effort as a disappointment after the overwhelming positive praise of their first two releases, and that’s O.K. because ‘Scurrilous’ is a slight departure for the band direction wise. ‘Scurrilous’ certainly leans more towards the melodic side of things, but has enough technical finesse to keep the fans of progressive metal more than pleased. And for those who have yet to discover the band, this album may well be the best place to start.
For more information on Protest The Hero, check out - http://www.protestthehero.com/
© Justin Donnelly